Organize files on your Mac with Automator

The Mac may be a damn handy computer, but if you don't store your files neatly in the right folders, things will quickly become a mess. Then you can adjust yourself to a different way of working, or you can just use Automator to put things in order.


What is Automator?

Automator is far from familiar to all Mac users, which is bizarre because it's one of the most powerful programs in OS X. With Automator, as the name suggests, you can automate countless things within OS X. You can think of renaming files, resizing files, letting programs perform automatic actions and much more complex things that go far beyond the scope of this article. One of the things you can also do with it is to organize files automatically.

Launch Automator through Spotlight.

Organize files

To illustrate what you can do with Automator, let's first create two folders on the desktop for files that, for example, often end up in a pile in the Downloads folder, namely images and DMG files. Create a folder Pictures and DMG files. Click the magnifying glass in the top right and type Automator. Now click on Automator to launch the program. You will now be presented with a series of options, click on Folder action and then Choose.

Once started, you select in Automator what kind of action you want to perform.

Now drag the following items from the left pane to the right pane (in that order):

• Filter Finder Items

• Move Finder Items

• Get specified Finder items

• Get folder contents

• Filter Finder Items

• Move Finder Items

In the first action (Filte Finder items) change Contents in File extension and type dmg in the field next to it. In the second action, drag the DMG files folder you created into the To field (or browse to it in the drop-down menu). In the third action, click Add and browse to the Downloads folder (indicating that the action should only apply to files in the Downloads folder). The fourth action leaves you unchanged.

By dragging actions you create a Workflow with which you can automate things.

In the next action you change Contents in Kind and after that Arbitrary in Image. Finally, in the last action, drag the Pictures folder into the To field.

What's happening now? Images downloaded in the Download folder are automatically moved to the Pictures folder on your desktop, while DMG files end up in the DMG files folder. You never have to do anything for that again. That way, you can automatically keep your Mac completely clean and tidy.

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